Thames Path

Guided Trail

Code: BNLTT

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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Meadows & hills

Level

  • Easy
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £689.00 - 7 nights

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Prices are per person

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Holiday overview

The Thames Path National Trail follows the course of the river from the Thames Barrier below London to its source near Kemble in Gloucestershire, a distance of some 180 miles. Our holiday covers the 54-mile stretch above Oxford.

Holiday Highlights

  • The beauty of the upper reaches of the River Thames following the riverside path from historic Oxford to its source in the Cotswolds
  • Rich historical interest, from Oxford’s dreaming spires to Cotswold villages
  • Peaceful riverside paths, teeming with birds and wildlife
  • A memorable journey to the river’s source

What’s included

  • 7 nights’ Full Board en-suite accommodation with all meals
  • The services of an experienced HF Holidays’ guide
  • All transport to and from the route is provided on walking days
  • Social activities in the evening

Accommodation

Dating from the Tudor period, and of considerable historic interest, Harrington House mirrors the mellow architectural style of the Cotswolds. Its peaceful atmosphere and proximity to the charming    4-star Visit Britain Guest Accommodationcentre of Bourton-on-the-Water make it ideal for those who prefer a less active holiday.
  

Bedrooms

Harrington House has 29 bedrooms. Most are located in the main house, with others in the adjacent cottages.

Our classic bedrooms offer comfortable accommodation and an en-suite bathroom with bath or shower. They also have TV, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are available for an extra £8 per night.

You can enjoy extra space or exceptional views plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade to a premium bedroom. Premium rooms are available at just £5 extra per person per night.    

If you are travelling with your family, we have a selection of 3 and 4-bedded family bedrooms. These have all the facilities of our classic rooms plus full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk beds or occasional beds for children.

A limited number of value twin rooms are available at a discount of £8 per person per night and value single rooms with a £5 per night discount. Our value rooms have the same facilities as our classic rooms, but bathroom facilities are nearby rather than en-suite.

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Facilities

All our Country Houses are tailored to the needs of walkers and outdoor enthusiasts and have excellent boot and drying rooms.

In the main house there is a small lounge, an attractive dining room and a cosy bar. The ballroom is a flexible space which can be used as a lounge, for dancing or for a variety of leisure activity holidays.

At the very top of the house is the fascinating observatory: an opportunity to try some star-gazing, or just enjoy the bird’s-eye view.

Free WiFi is available in the public rooms. There is also a range of board games and books.

At the rear of the house there is an attractive walled garden with a large croquet lawn. This is a particularly attractive spot to relax after a day’s walk or activity.

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Food

All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board with all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.

Start your day with our extensive breakfast. Choose from a wide selection on the cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. Maybe enjoy a lighter option of fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, go for porridge followed by a full English breakfast, or select something in between.

Choose from our famous self-select picnic lunches - everything you need to keep you going on a day outdoors. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish.     

Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (generally soup, sandwiches etc).   

The relaxed dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring good British cooking and often local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.

All our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.

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Evening

Guided Walking: enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk on local history from a visiting speaker, a team quiz, or a stroll around Bourton-on-the-Water. Alternatively if you prefer, feel free to just relax in our lounge or bar.

Leisure Activities: many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.

Self-Guided Walking: there may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.

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Accessibility

Due to the layout and age of Harrington House, it is not recommended for wheelchair users or anyone with restricted mobility. Although one bedroom has wheelchair access, the access to the main house has some steps and internally there are some steps to negotiate. 

Arrival & car parking facilities

  • There is a small car park at the front of the house and a larger one at the rear
  • 2 disabled parking bays
  • The surface of the car park is tarmac, slightly uneven
  • Assistance with luggage provided upon request 

Main entrance & reception

  • The front entrance has 5 steps (each step is 15cm in height) up to it and the back entrance has 3 steps (each step is 4.5cm in height)
  • Ramp is available on request. Handrail at the front entrance (height 93cm)
  • The office is situated in the front hallway. The hallway is well lit and the width of it is 295cm 

Public areas - hall, stairs, landing, corridors etc

  • In general, due to the age and layout of the house, most of the rooms are accessed via carpeted hallways & corridors with firedoors and steps in them. Minimum width 73cm
  • Hallways and corridors are generally well lit. Staircase to the upper floors is steep and narrow in places
  • Portable ramp available 

Public areas - sitting room, lounges, lobbies etc

  • From the main hallway, there is level access to the lounge, dining room, and ballroom
  • The bar is accessed via 1 step of 16cm high, 85cm wide
  • The lounge has very good lighting, thick carpet and internet access
  • The entrance door into the lounge is a fire door and 93cm in width
  • The observatory in on top of the house. The stairs up are steep, each step is 18cm high and 81cm wide. The stairs have handrails and are well lit and thickly carpeted
  • The boot room is located near the main entrance and has a coded lock on the door. One step of 8cm in height into the boot room
  • The ballroom is located near the bar with one step down (14cm high). The entrance width is 93cm
  • Wooden floor, good lighting
  • Chairs are 45cm high with arm rests. Tables are 49cm high. Window seats 47cm high. All furniture easily movable
  • The painting room is located in the Windrush Cottage (accessed from outside). Minimum entrance width 79cm, minimum corridor width 70cm, one step down of 18cm.
  • The chairs are 44cm high, tables 49cm. All furniture is easily movable
  • Well lit room with a rug in the middle of vinyl tile floor 

Public WCs

  • The public toilets are located down the hallway, just off the main reception area. There are two steps up, each 19cm high
  • The width of the main door is 74cm, the cubicle doors are 58cm. Ladies toilet height is 38cm and the gents is 37cm. Both have a tiled floor. Sink is 90cm high 

Dining room & bar

  • The dining room is located off the main hallway. The door width is 96cm
  • Five movable tables, all 70cm high and all chairs are 46cm high with no arm rests
  • The dining room is well lit and has thick carpet
  • Breakfast service is self service cold buffet with assistance available, if required. Table service for hot meals
  • The bar is also located off the main hallway. The door width is 85cm. One step, 16cm high
  • The chairs are 47cm high, some with arms. The bar counter is 108cm high 

Bedrooms & sleeping areas           

Room 30

  • Room 30 is the room best suited for anyone requiring wheelchair access. The room is located on the ground floor of Jubilee Cottage
  • The entrance is 80cm wide
  • The room is carpeted and has 2 single beds (each 58cm high), 1 sofa bed, 2 bedside tables, a dresser, a wardrobe and 2 chairs
  • The room is 431cm wide
  • The entrance to the en-suite bathroom is 82cm. Non-slip flooring
  • Walk-in shower with a shower curtain
  • The sink is 79cm high with a lever tap. Mirror and shaver light
  • Height of the toilet is 40cm 

Other bedrooms

  • The rest of the rooms are a mixture of singles, twins and doubles. Bedrooms are located in the main house (1st and 2nd floor), the annex, Windrush (ground and 1st floor) and Jubilee Cottage (ground and 1st floor)
  • Most of the rooms are en-suite, three basic single bedrooms only have a sink in the rooms and they share two bathrooms along the corridor 

Grounds and gardens

The garden at the back of the house is flat and pebbled with seating available 

Additional information

  • Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
  • Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
  • Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
  • Information can be provided in large print
  • Staff have received disability awareness training
  • Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
  • Fridge for medication can be supplied

Itinerary

Planned Itinerary

Osney Bridge to Bablock Hythe                   

We quickly lose sight of the dreaming spires and suburbs of Oxford and enter lush water meadows. We will see Port Meadow, ancient common grazing land presented to the Burgesses of Oxford by William the Conqueror and the remains of the Benedictine nunnery at Godstow; founded in 1139. We continue to Swinford Bridge, one of the two remaining toll bridges across the Thames. At Pinkhill Lock the path leaves the river and crosses fields to reach Bablock Hythe.10½ miles (17km).

Bablock Hythe to Tadpole Bridge                

We follow the river to the remote lock at Northmoor. We look at one of the weirs which retain the paddle construction of earlier times and continue to Newbridge, the second oldest of the Thames bridges. A remote meandering section of our walk follows with few signs of habitation. We see an isolated chapel in fields at Shifford, once an important town where a thousand years ago King Alfred held a meeting of the English Parliament. We follow Shifford Lock Cut, before rejoining the river to Tadpole Bridge, which was built to carry the turnpike road to Bampton. 10 miles (16km).

Rest Day

A day without any walks programmed, giving you the opportunity to explore the local area independently

Tadpole Bridge to Lechlade             

We follow a towpath all the way to Lechlade. At Rushey Lock we shall see another paddle-weir and, over a side channel at Radcot, the oldest bridge on the Thames. We pass close to Kelmscott Manor; a house lived in by William Morris and his family for 25 years, before coming to Buscot Lock, where the National Trust has restored the lock-keeper’s cottage.  After St John’s Lock, we continue to Lechlade. 10½ miles (17km).

Lechlade to Cricklade                                  

Leaving Lechlade at Halfpenny Bridge, we follow the towpath to Inglesham Round House, the point where the Thames and Severn Canal once joined the river, and cross fields to visit the 13th century church at Inglesham. Inspired by William Morris, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings carefully restored the church in the 1880s. There are a few sections of road walking. We rejoin the river for the final section into Cricklade.10½ miles (17km).

Cricklade to the source                                

We cross the River Churn and enter the North Meadow Nature Reserve. After passing the Latton Aqueduct, a relic of the North Wiltshire Canal, we follow paths through the Cotswold Water Park, created by the flooding of old gravel pits. Frequent glimpses of the Thames headwaters lead us on to Ashton Keynes where the path will bring us to the last bridge where water can sometimes be seen. Near Upper Mill Farm, once a water mill, a windpump marks a spot where water used to rise vigorously but thereafter it is only just possible to discern the line of the river. We continue across open fields to reach the simple marble slab in Trewsbury Mead that marks the official source of the river and the end of our journey. 13 miles (21km).

The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader with regard to the weather and other external factors 

Local area

Bourton-on-the-Water is situated at the heart of the Cotswolds, a beautiful area of rolling green hills and attractive stone towns and villages.

Harrington House is located in a quiet street, just 100 metres from the centre of Bourton. This is one of the most popular villages in the Cotswolds, frequently busy with visitors. The River Windrush winds its way through the central village green and is crossed by a series of attractive stone bridges.

Bourton-on-the-Water is a popular destination in its own right with its specialist shops and attractive village  green. Local attractions include the motor museum, model village and Birdland wildlife park, all within easy walking distance.

The village has a good range of facilities including a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and bank.

During your stay at Harrington House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:

Chipping Campden
The mellow market town of Chipping Campden, about 30 minutes' drive north of Bourton-on-the-Water, is one of the most visited towns in the Cotswolds.

Hidcote Manor Gardens
Owned by the National Trust, Hidcote is a small manor house with an exceptional garden designed in the Arts and Crafts style. Around 35 minutes' north from Bourton-on-the-Water. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote

Broadway
Considered as one of the most beautiful villages in Britain it is easy to see why so many visitors are attracted to Broadway. Don’t let this put you off; Broadway is still worth a visit. To get away from the crowds, consider a walk to Broadway Tower for stunning views of the Vale of Evesham. Around 30 minutes' drive from Bourton.

Cheltenham
The fine Regency spa town of Cheltenham has an excellent range of shops and facilities. Cheltenham is around 25 minutes' drive from Bourton, and can also be reached by an hourly local bus.

Stratford-upon-Avon
Famous for its Shakespeare connections, Stratford is an attractive town spanning the River Avon. Of particular interest are the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Shakespeare Birthplace Museum. Around 40 minutes' drive from Bourton. www.rsc.org.uk or www.shakespeare.org.uk

Gloucester
The Cathedral city of Gloucester is about 35 minutes' drive to the west of Bourton. The fine Norman cathedral is well worth visiting, as is the National Waterways Museum. www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk or www.nwm.org.uk/gloucester

Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway
Ride the steam railway through attractive Cotswold countryside from Cheltenham to Toddington about 30 minutes' drive from Bourton. Now restored, this was once the Great Western main line to Birmingham. www.gwsr.com

Oxford
The famous university city of Oxford is about an hour’s drive from Bourton-on-the-Water. You may wish to stroll through the historic colleges or visit the Ashmolean Museum. www.ashmolean.org

Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace is one of the grandest and best-known stately homes in Britain. It sits in extensive parkland and is also famous as the ancestral home of Winston Churchill. www.blenheimpalace.com

Travel

Harrington House, Sherborne Street, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2BY

By train: The nearest railway station is Moreton-in-Marsh. However, the nearest mainline station is at Cheltenham Spa which may be more convenient. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).

By taxi: The 8 mile journey from Moreton-in-Marsh railway station takes approximately 20 minutes. Taxis cost approx £19 for 2 passengers. The 17 mile journey from Cheltenham Spa railway station takes approximately 30 minutes. Taxis cost approx £38 for 2 passengers. Every year we negotiate a pre-booked rate for these journeys. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. We recommend pre-booking your taxi and the taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Harrington House Manager.

By car: From the A429 take the road into the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water.  At the war memorial by the village green, turn into Sherborne Street. Follow this road for 150yds, crossing the river and passing the motor museum until the road forks. Harrington House is on the left before the fork.  Look out for our sign. A car park is available in the grounds with free parking.

To help you plan your journey, use www.traveline.info

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
13 Jun 2016, 1 p.m.

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I have always found HFHolidays to be excellent.

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I was walking the Thames Path from Bourton, it was probably too easy for me.
11 Jun 2016, 8:08 p.m.

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As a long time HF member I was disappointed with the evening programmes. Except for a good, amusing walk around Bourton one evening the other evenings were basically quizzes.There wasn`t variety and a real opportunity to socialize with other guests


A well run house and excellent food.

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The hiking was great. Compared with evening activities over many years these were disappointing. Basically, with one exception,it was a quiz every evening. What happened to dancing, scavenger hunts etc. which provided opportunity to mingle with a variety of guests with non quiz interests?
1 Jun 2016, 8:06 p.m.

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Problems with booking and confusion over availability and price but the room was excellent and the staff at Harrington House were excellent. The efficiency in providing the right dietary options was outstanding.

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The transport and organisation was excellent. The stop in Oxford was too short to accomplish anything and too long to stand around twiddling your thumbs. Would suggest that this be cut out of the itinerary and for the walk to start immediately after the drop off.
1 Jun 2016, 7:15 p.m.

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excellent hotel accommodation and food

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Thames Path quite testing despite no ascents
31 May 2016, 1:42 p.m.

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All arrangements were flawless.

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Food and guiding was excellent.
18 Sep 2015, 12:59 p.m.

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The Thames Path is what it is so it's not your fault, but it is so boring with only a few redeeming features. Not to be recommended.
We have noted your feedback. Thank you

Toni McNulty
Customer Relations Manager
HF Holidays
17 Sep 2015, 9:02 a.m.

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No review provided

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Brilliant holiday as usual-good weather as well.
16 Sep 2015, 7:29 p.m.

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All staff very friendly and helpful

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Very well organised - coaches, places for lunch and of course a pub at the end where possible!
16 Sep 2015, 2:32 p.m.

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As usual always excellent

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Dealt with a problem quicklyand willingly
27 May 2015, 6:48 a.m.

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I keep coming back to HF year after year, that is proof of my satisfaction

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excellent location, service and facilities but I found the house (particularly the dining-room a bit crowded and noisy)

Read more reviews from feefo

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Buy today for Book
12 May 2017 BNLTT - Thames Path - Bourton-on-the-Water 7 £839.00 £759.00 Special Trails Offer £80 off pp Book Now
2 Jun 2017 BNLTT - Thames Path - Bourton-on-the-Water 7 £839.00 £759.00 Special Trails Offer £80 off pp Book Now
13 Oct 2017 BNLTT - Thames Path - Bourton-on-the-Water 7 £769.00 £689.00 Special Trails Offer £80 off pp Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Standard single room: (2016) £8 per night; (2017) no supplement
  • Premium single room: £15 per night (2017 only)
  • Premium twin/double room: (2016) £5 per person per night; (2017) £10 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person

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